Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What Makes Bitter Honey Special

Tuesday’s are the days I showcase my own work on this blog. Today I’d like to talk about my novel, The Plain of Bitter Honey. In an interview by Bold Strokes Books, I was asked what made this novel special, at least to me. My answer is below the blurb:

Twins Aaron and Hayden Swann are fighting a corrupt government taken over by ultra right-wing Fundamentalist Christians in 2055 America. Each brother fights in his own way, Aaron with bullets, Hayden with words. Then one night their world is turned upside down when they are caught in a government sting and they must both flee north into the badlands between San Francisco and Canada, where the only safe haven is a place called The Plain of Bitter Honey, a refuge where heads of the Resistance operate. But the brothers don’t know that government agents are tracking them to the hiding place of the Resistance. Can they find the inner strength to survive?

My Interview Answer:
The Plain of Bitter Honey is my first attempt to abandon the romance genre. It is also my first futuristic novel, so as you can see this book is the result of me breaking out, escaping the barriers I’ve been a prisoner to for the last decade. It represents a new and bold direction for my writing.

I believe it is my most creative and daring work. The premise was partly influenced by Andrew W.M. Beierly’s groundbreaking novel, First Person Plural, where two brothers—one straight and one gay—share the same body, which has two heads and two minds. Each head has it’s own personality, but they can’t get away from each other. They must learn to compromise, understand each other, and grow emotionally.

In Bitter Honey, I have twins who were born joined at the head, who after surgery to separate them, still have one consciousness that is split, one straight and one gay. They, of course, are able to live separately, but are still connected mentally even over great distances. The brothers must find their own identity by helping the other brother through the hardship and danger of fighting a revolutionary war.

This story made me stretch my imagination and my writing in ways I could not have predicted at the start. It also delves deep into my personal philosophies. It has forged a new focus in my career, and has reenergized me at a time when I had begun to lose interest.

An Excerpt Describing the Brothers:
Aaron and his brother were identical—the same shoulder-length, burnt-coffee-colored dreadlocks, same six-foot-two athletic frame and strong-boned facial features, and because they were mixed race, their skin tones held the warm color of old copper. Twins, their only physical difference was Aaron carried a bit more weight and definition from martial arts training, and Hayden’s blue eyes had tiny specks the color of emeralds gleaming in bright sunlight. Yet on the inside they were earth and sky. Aaron was serious and stoic--Hayden was a dreamer. He had uncommonly quick reflexes while Hayden was only quick with a smile. He was a fighter, Hayden’s only weapons were words and ideas.

It’s why I love him so. He’s almost everything I crave to be—what I would have been had we lived in a different time.

Aaron made the stipulation almost everything because Hayden was gay. Aaron accepted his brother’s sexuality, but he preferred the company of women in his bed.

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